government list coronavirus
The government has published a list of ‘non-essential’ businesses that must close their doors to the public.

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The latest news follows the dramatic changes to the fairs calendar last week where most events in the UK and Ireland were either cancelled or rescheduled.

View the UK government's guidance for businesses and premises to close.

Please note, the list includes dealers (covered under ‘All retail with notable exceptions’), fairs (covered by ‘Outdoor and indoor markets’) and salerooms (covered by ‘Auction houses’).

Shift to online

While all ‘non-essential’ businesses were ordered by the UK government to close last night, many firms had already taken the decision to close their premises temporarily.

A significant number of auction houses had decided to cancel or postpone their sales beforehand, while others changed the format of sales to run as ‘live online only’ events where bidding takes place via the internet, commission bids and phone with no bidders in the room.

A list of auctions still taking place and offering internet bidding can be found on thesaleroom.com

Chiswick Auctions is one of the auction houses that has closed its main saleroom and all branches to the public until further notice but said it will be fully functional online and will continue with its sales calendar as planned.  In a statement on its website the firm added: “We appreciate the uncertainty regarding post-sale logistics, so provided lots are paid for, we are offering free storage until such time as business and public life returns to normal and shipping/collection can be arranged."

Some sales last week, such as Sotheby’s Made in Britain sale, reported strong online sales with a jump in online buying.

ATG’s list of changes to auctions and fairs dates is being regularly updated as we receive information.

Meanwhile, dealers are taking to trade via the internet, posting items on social media and their websites to generate new leads.

Delivery companies are not listed as businesses that must close so it will still be possible to send and receive art and antiques.